Californians Approve Big Increase in Arts Education Funding

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure backed by a celebrity slate that included Barbra Streisand and Los Angeles-born rappers and Dr. Dre who could pump up to $1 billion dollars per year from the general state fund in arts education.

The measure had faced no organized opposition, a rarity. With about a quarter of the ballots counted, Proposition 28 won hands down with 75.8% of the vote. It will require the state to provide the equivalent of 1% of California state funding to public schools pre-K through 12 for the arts.

Proponents said it would benefit public school programs that go beyond traditional art, drama, dance and music classes to include graphic design, computer coding, animation, music composition and script writing.

Despite California’s vibrant arts and music scene that has given the world everything from Hollywood to surf rock, less than a quarter of its public schools have a full-time arts or music education teacher, and some schools do not offer such classes at all.

The measure will send 30% of the allocated money to low-income school districts, which have large numbers of black and Latino students.

He was backed by everyone from Austin Beutner, the former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, to the Los Angeles County Business Federation.

Some critics had expressed concerns about the allocation of more money from the state’s general fund as California faces many other challenges, from homelessness to wildfires.

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